Monday, August 30, 2021

08.30.21 Tough week for America....

       Yesterday while attending church services on the boardwalk in Cape May the flag was raised to half staff in honor of the 13 brave American service members killed in Afghanistan this past week. We, well they, continue to sacrifice and give to serve others and protect us. I hope and pray that we learn from these senseless wars and tragedies and prevent putting out people in harms way in the future. I believe we need to focus on the homeland putting out interests first, and then lending a hand to others after that. We are a mess right now, for many reasons, and any normalcy of traditional fall rituals, like returning to school, have already been fractured by the ramping up of Covid infections. 


     And over the past few days the Gulf Coast has seen Hurricane Ida hit with winds to over 140 mph which is nearly a Cat 5 hurricane. Ironically it happened the day that Katrina hit 16 years ago. As of now there have been no levy breaks and hopefully the damage and death toll stays to a minimum. I remember Katrina well having gone there as a photojournalist and nurse. Pulling shifts as an RN at a makeshift hospital at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge before heading into New Orleans 

and switching over to a photojournalists role capturing the rescues and aftermath of the hurricane. Below is a picture of me standing at the intersection of Desire and Marius Streets in the city's St. Clause section. It was an experience both as a nurse and photographer I will never forget. I can still feel the heat, smell the stench of bayou meets fuel meets sewer, and the sights of desperation on the faces of the residents in the poorest neighborhoods of New Orleans. 

     Ans this week comes as the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, another large scale tragedy I was involved with, but more on that in a later post. I just pray that there isn't any action from our enemies as we remember the destruction and death we suffered on our American soil. 

     This past week I had the girls and my nephew down in Bradenton visiting my mom. We had a busy week, hit more thrift stores than I can remember, ate too much, enjoyed her air conditioning, and hitting the beach and docks. The best fishing was there, some frozen shrimp on a barbless circle which provided a constant stream of bites and fish landed. 

     Sometimes I forget what fishing is supposed to be...just having fun and catching fish. Its not about the fly rod, its not about being anti-bait and spin fishing, its about the smiles like the ones above enjoying, and respecting, the fish and the thrill of a bite on the other end of your line. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

08.22.21 Nice night with Dead & Company....

     Lauren and I took the short to Philly to see Dead & Company as they hit the City of Brotherly Love for a one night show. They just came off a night in Queens and will now head up to Bethel , NY.

      What a great venue for a show.  Right off 95, right into the parking lot and after a quick ride out and home. Before the show we hit Shakedown and visited the temptation to try some nitrous, mushrooms, edibles or Jaeger shots that were being offered buy the vendors. The police on the horses and in the patrol cars kept the action, well, out in the open. We did score our favorite nastys-ass-cooks-fingers Dead Head grilled cheese. 

     The show started with Mississippi Half-Step and finished with Brokedown. It was a one set show with a short Drums and no Space as an intermission. The "second set" after drums was The Wheel into a solid Morning Dew. My favorite of the night was Terrapin although Franklin's was a tight second. Always fun taking Lauren to another show...after she said she's going to get tickets for Hersey in a few weeks. 


Saturday, August 21, 2021

08.21.21 See you in the fall...

Leif Petterson photo

     Went down yesterday and hit the end of the incoming and start of the outgoing. Started with a popper/dropper and had it bit off by a bluefish after a few casts. Worked the beach and rocks on near combat conditions as the south swell was breaking right at my feet no matter where I stood. 

     There was nice white water but the problem is in that stretch there's no water under the suds. White water is great when it glides over a depression, hole, bowl, or trough. White water running up the beach scarp and then back out, not even into a rip, doesn't hold fish. So you really have to read the beach and hole up in some of the places that hold water. 

     The surfers love the west wind with the swell and pre-storm conditions usually tune up the fish. Yesterday I had one on. He came on the top of the wave and took my fly but the intermediate line was snaked in and on top of the swell and I couldn't keep up with it to hook set. This morning Leif hit it and caught that fish, well maybe another, a one and done outing for him. 

Leif Petterson photo

     So now it begins. Fall is almost here. Storms will start to corn up the surf and get the season going. Over the next few days Tropical Storm/Hurricane Henri makes its way up and along the East Cost. 

     The Eastern End of Long Island, specifically Montauk, looks like its going to take the brunt of it. While it will pass off the Jersey Shore the weather will have an impact on the beaches. Talking just fishing now, I hope it churns it up good and makes some structure that will hold some water, bait and big fish. 


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

08.18.21 Happy Birthday Ryan....

    Twenty-five years ago Ryan was born. I would have loved to sit down with him and have a beer and discuss what he thinks about the world today. I often make the trip to Deal to visit him on "Ryan's Rock" which is the last flat rock on the Phillips Avenue "jetty" where some of his ashes were spread. I was there today mostly for the visit but to throw the fly rod as well. One of the songs that always touched my heart was "Blackbird", the version done by Paul McCartney, a song that Ryan had mastered on the guitar in short time. While standing on his rock I made some casts and watched the sunrise and smiled. 

      There wasn't anything going on fishing wise so there wasn't too much to take my mind off of Ryan and what has happened in the world since he left us four years ago, and a lot of it isn't good. While I wondered what he thought of all this, I also wondered, as he is perched in the Heaven that I believe in, if he has a front row seat able to look down and around, and see all the good and bad we experience on this planet.  

     And those thoughts led me to another song that brought a smile to mind face and stayed in my head most of the day. "Standing on the moon, with nothing left to do, a lovely view of heaven, but I'd rather be with you". That song is from the Grateful Dead and I have seen it done live many times, the best times sung by Gerry Garcia before he passed in 1995. 

     I left the beach with only one hit from a small fluke that grabbed my fly in the wash. Later in the day I got a text from family sending me the below picture of Ryan and I. That was taken in the early 2000's on the Lackawanna River in Peckville, PA. I have great fishing pictures of all my kids and they are precious to me and make me realize how lucky I am to share the time and space with them and having the blessing of being their Dad. 


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

08.17.21 Not much fishing going on.....

     Been doing a little everything during these dog days of a ridiculously hot and wet summer. Mercer County has been like a sauna and a rain forest. Temperature control inside our big ol' house has been impossible. My basement is wet and sticky and a moist mess. That said its only been a few times out on the Delaware or searching for snakeheads in some local ponds. Erin and I encountered the below dinosaur when on the prowl in a buggy and lily pad choked  pond. 

     One evening decided to take a romantic cruise down the river for some dinner. I had the boat in the water and Theresa met me in her scrubs after work. Nice plan. Nice ride for the first 25 minutes. My goal was to get to Curtain's in Burlington City to catch a bite and a beer and the sunset. Well about two miles away the sky was looking kind of gray, and a mile away the heavens opened up, like really opened up. We motored in and found...

they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I should have checked the weather or bailed out when I saw the sky but I was laser focused on having a nice dinner. In the end we dried off on the way back and by

the time we hit Bordentown it was a beautiful sky and sunset and dry as a bone as the rain line was somewhere around Florence. Each time I hit the river I can't believe how much of a river it is, seeing it from the waters perspective. The other thing that I didn't know is that in parts below Trenton channels and deep holes hit over 50 feet deep. The other thing is the 9 foot tide has to be taken into account when wading but also when putting in and taking out. I don't want to go there about taking out on low tides.

     In between work and putzing around the house and river there has been Cape May. Love it down there. Next summer thinking of keeping the boat at a local marina. I really have to figure out something for the radar on Jim's boat, it isn't stable and is surely not good for the boat, the unit, or passengers. 


Saturday, August 7, 2021

08.07.21 Nice Delaware River shakedown trip....

     So its kind of interesting. I have a boat and fished the Delaware River hard all spring never once getting it wet. I'm kinda glad I did. Besides boat fish not counting, as they say, it was good for me to concentrate on walking and learning the river without the aid of a boat. I thanked for my first season it was a good move. 

     What can I say about today? WOW!. Why? Because that river is deep and it is wide and it is long! Its not until you see it from about can you appreciate it. And I did. I see why Trenton the end of the teal range is such a pinch point for the bass, that and Scudder's Falls and Lambertville and further north. 

     Erin and I put in at Trenton, where I purchased a season pass, and headed up to behind Cooper'sd and then down as far south as the Turnpike Bridge. Along the way we stopped at Debby's in Florence for some ice cream. 

     I had the rod on the boat and made a few casts but it wasn't a fly fishing day. It felt good to get the boat out. I think there's a part of me that is kinda scared. This boat is not like mine and has been rigged up and don't know all that it has and can do. Between that and sinking my pick up last year getting it out of the water at Atlantic Highlands had me a bit gun shy also. But it likes riding a horse, you fall off, you get back on. I'm not too thrilled with the way the Yukon tows it so doesn't help either. When I got back home I went to give it a bath with my neighbors pressure washer and as soon as I turned it on it blew out where the high pressure hose was kinked. If that was all that wrong on the shakedown trip that's okay by me. 


Friday, August 6, 2021

08.06.21 Salps and asscrack in the pocket....

     I wasn't going to go. But I did. Figuring it would be high tide at dawn would mean lots of bait and predator fish in the wash. That wasn't to be. Started with a popper/dropper and had something jump earl on but that was it for me. Leif came down and had a small bass on his first cast and that was it. Joe landed a small fluke and that was it also. 

    It was weird because its almost a new moon and although the tide was high there just wasn't much for water. The sand has been pulled off the beach and it breaks on the outer bar and runs across the structureless shallow sand to the beach. Not much for structure and the water comes in and goes out. While we were on the rocks I made a cast on the south side where the SW swell was coming from and encountered the salp. It covered the head of my flies. 

     As I looked over to Leif I noticed a gentleman in the pocket remove his clothes down to his skivvies and take a morning bath. Alright I guess, but there was a load of people and young kids within eyesight. 

     On the way home I stopped by the Delaware and made a few casts on the dead low tide. The river looks good and I have seen some recent catches made during the twilight hours by local angler Bruce 

Pashley. One that taped in at 28 inches. They must be starting to target the herring and shad fry that are making their way down river. While its nice to hit the beach maybe I should be staying local and learn the fall fishery here before the mullet run starts in September.